CainaCaïna (pronounced keye-nah, not kay-nah) have been a staple within the underground since 2004; the band went on a hiatus in 2011, only to return in 2013, and it would seem a break has done them good. While always firmly rooted in black metal, Caïna are possibly better known for playing around with their sound and over the years have incorporated elements of electronica, various cleaner melodies and have occasionally pooled resources from other niche metal genres. As well as forever changing their sound, Caïna has also seen a stream of different musicians involved with the project, the only steadfast member being Andy Curtis-Brignell.

‘Setter of Unseen Snares’ is Caïna’s fifth full length album and sees Andy handling the vast majority of the vocals, as well as the instruments; guest musicians include M. Ribeiro, Vince Martyr and Laurence Taylor – since this album was recorded, Laurence has joined the band full time as lead vocalist. This release is quite possibly the most black metal effort the band have released to date, opening with the stark Rustin Cohle (True Detective) quote “I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution”. The power of the intro makes the rest of the album all the more punishing, with each track providing a raw unrelenting barrage of aggression.

Most noticeable of all on this record is how much like a USBM release it sounds – influences from the likes of Twilight, Krieg and Krallice are all audible and the drumming becomes so feverish in places it almost sounds like Wolves in the Throne Room’s ‘Two Hunters’. While the four speedier tracks on ‘Setter…’ are more than impressive, the standout song definitely has to be closer ‘Orphan’. Clocking in at just over 15 minutes, this is certainly the most measured of the songs, with lengthy ambient passages and a deep seated feeling of melancholy, rounded off by some rather nice clean vocals.

This is without a doubt the best release Caïna has put out to date and will hopefully see the band elevated from the underground and placed alongside some of the UK’s black metal greats. A must listen for fans of all things “grim and frostbitten”.

(8.5/10 Angela Davey)